Wednesday, December 21, 2016

This post was originally published in its entirety at Click that link to read the full post, and follow Anatoly Vanetik on Twitter at to stay up to date on all of his blog posts. 

To say the least, 2016 has been a tumultuous year for the Oil and Gas (O &G) industry. In truth, market events year have blasted O & G like the pressurized spray of hydraulic fracking drill rips through shale, sending investors, prices and predictive analyses on a whirling, white-rapid roller coaster of a route, eventually ending in a place altogether alien. Yes, the industry has moved on and if 2016 events are any indication, those invested in O & G should accustom themselves to quick, ambiguous shifts as modern energy practice continues its metamorphosis.

Any year this memorable begs a recap, so with the following list let’s examine 2016’s major oil and gas happenings, and brace ourselves for the moment when pressure strikes the market again.

  • Drilling costs took a dive – Costs of installing and operating wells have plummeted, with a significant number of companies reporting a 50% decrease in expenses involved in installing wells throughout 2016’s later months. This price dive owes itself to the industry tradition of consistently innovating new and efficient drilling and rig tech.

  • Expected ultimate recoveries climb – EURs, or predictions for net recoverable product in a given area, flew to new heights this year, subsequently dropping economic barriers for the startup of new drilling projects. Technical tweaks like advanced hydraulic fracking techniques and fine-tuned detection equipment have contributed to this, since workers can now more efficiently target large, concentrated pockets of oil.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Pirates are Posing a Threat to Oil and Gas

Originally published on

Pirates may seem like an issue of the past, but in some parts of the world, they’re still a very real threat to ships, especially those carrying valuable cargo like oil and gas. Because oil tankers are traditionally older, larger ships, they don’t have the speed like the smaller speedboats of the pirates do. They also don’t often carry weapons, whereas pirates will board ships with machetes and guns, then incapacitate the crew so they can have easy access to the oil. Not only does the piracy of tankers harm the oil and gas industry, it harms the lives of those who work on these ships and also the people and environment around where the ships travel.
Recent news
The biggest hotspot of pirate attacks against oil tankers occurs in the South China Sea. Many tankers travel in this area, shipping oil amongst the hundreds of islands. Due to the high density of waterways and islands, pirates have taken advantage of these conditions. Sophisticated organizations have been established and grown much longer, so they can plan elaborate attacks, often multiple times in a week, against oil tankers, taking millions of dollars over a few attacks.
It’s possible that the pirates began as simple fishermen in the area who were driven by desperation to make some quick money. Unfortunately, highjacking these oil ships is incredibly lucrative, so a huge organized crime system has developed around it, pushing more and more people to turn to piracy in exchange for the rewards it offers.
The South China Sea also isn’t the only location where oil tankers are targeted. In the waters around Africa and even the Red Sea, pirates attack tankers and make off with the oil barrels, usually boarding the ship, typing up or killing the crew, then transporting the barrels onto another boat. The media has pulled back on reporting these incidents of piracy, but experts warn that it continues at a high rate and transporters should not become complacent and let their guards down.
Various issues exist with this oil tanker piracy, including the monetary loss of the oil stolen. Along the Somali coast, hundreds of attacks occur, which cost the oil and gas industry upwards of $1 billion. There’s also the threat to human life, primarily that of the crew, who are often held at gunpoint once the pirates board their ships and then left to drift around in the ocean after their communications are destroyed – if they’re lucky. Some crews are simply killed. There’s also the threat of the ship crashing into land or another boat if no one is left to safely navigate it. A possibility of a spill exists as well, if inexperienced pirates are transporting large amounts of oil, or leaving oil on an abandoned ship.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Fracking and Local Economies

This post was originally featured on

Despite having its roots in US energy production dating back to the early 1900s, fracking has long been looked at as an unconventional and perhaps temporary means of producing natural gas and oil within the United States.
I’ve written in the past on about how fracking was conceived and how the process actually plays out, disspelling some of the fears around the process of collecting oil and gas within the United States. For at least 65 years, it has been used in a commercial capacity, helping to reduce the United States’ dependence on foreign oils and spur on the surge in domestic energy production. While the process does present environmental concerns when done at enormously high volumes, fracking has allowed for tremendous increases in US energy, revolutionizing the energy industry as a whole.
Fracking has reduced the cost of energy production hugely across the nation–the so called fracking revolution has caused gas prices to drop by about 47% according to Brookings. Fracking wells as a whole produced the good majority of US natural gas across the nation–two third according to the Energy Information Association.
In short, the fracking boom has hugely influenced the US economy and energy production. Few people will debate the large-scale economic benefits of increasing nationwide fracking, environmental concerns aside. But how does fracking affect local economies?
Even in scenarios in which the national economy is bouncing back or doing well at large, there are always struggling local economies. Without a booming populous or a bustling business center, some small cities and towns struggle to keep themselves afloat. Fracking, though, in areas in which shale is a valuable resource, can be the answer.
According to two Duke energy experts who studied the matter, fracking’s local benefits are enormous and unparalleled. The local government in Weld County, home to the largest shale deposit in Colorado, has brought in $110 million in property tax revenue since the shale boom. This money, combined with severance tax allocations from the government has allowed Weld County to put millions back into the school system, strengthen the police and local businesses, and rebuild roads within the county.
Weld County isn’t an exception either, similar benefits in local economies have been recognized almost universally where fracking is found. With the continued pressure to strive for energy independence within the United States, fracking is likely here to stay, much to the benefit of the economy at both the micro and macro levels.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Will the United States Achieve Energy Independence

By Anatoly Vanetik

Depending largely on who you believe, where you’re getting your information and what you’d like to hear, the United States could be on the verge of turning completely energy independent in the near future. Or, on the other hand, it could not.
It seems as though every week a new article pops up online either detailing why the US will be energy independent in the next few years, then later claiming it’s a bit further from that, then claiming it will never happen, then claiming that it may, in fact, happen. This is because, in the most straightforward of terms, no one really knows.

The Case for Independence 

I’ve touched on the potential for America’s energy independence briefly in the past on my bloghere.
The price volatility of oil has had an enormous impact on the state of the United States economy. The less we have to rely on foreign nations (primarily in the Middle East) for their oil production, the more stable our own economy can grow, further utilizing the energy sources domestically. Additionally, energy independence would theoretically solve issues regarding national security and the military. While 100 percent energy independence is quite the task, moving towards independence even short of the 100 percent metric is important nonetheless.
“For the U.S. to have more options and be more independent, it reduces our national security vulnerability and makes more oil available to the rest of the world, which enhances geopolitical stability to the rest of the world,” said Mike Ming, Oklahoma Energy Secretary.
With the oil and fracking booms that the United States has seen explode in recent years, our dependence on foreign oil is dropping drastically. Oil imports have shrunk from 61 percent in 2005 to about 28 percent in 2015. Some suggest that that number could push single-digits within the next few years. In April of 2015, some experts forecasted that the US could be independent as soon as 2019; while that may seem like a far cry from where we sit now, additional vehicles of independence, like solar power and wind power are champing at the bit to become the US’s new source of energy.

Why It May Not Happen

Some, including The Street and The Atlantic, do not see energy independence in America’s future at all. The big player in this train of thought is simple: the price of American energy. While the US is one of the three biggest oil producers in the world, we are also one of the more expensive. While Middle East OPEC countries continue to produce oil at cheaper prices, the US is wise to remain oil dependent for at least the foreseeable future. The oil market is, simply put, not stable enough for America to ever comfortable fall into complete energy independence. As one of the largest users of oil in the world as well, the US needs to first examine its usage and where that can be cut back before we can set sights on energy independence.
Originally posted on

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tony Vanetik: How Tech is Changing Oil and Gas

This blog was originally published on Tony Vanetik's website.
No one in their right mind would dare say that technology hasn’t changed the way we’ve lived in recent years. Everything around us, from the homes we live in to the watches on our wrists, have been profoundly affected by technological advances. Even the cars we drive have found themselves with new pieces of tech both inside and out, changing everything from our navigation systems to the fuel efficiency of cars both large and compact.
The fuel efficiency of our cars has been rising for years, according to the Washington Post, the cars we drive now are more fuel-efficient than they ever have been previously. Some have reached the point of not needing fuel at all, as electric vehicles have begun to become more and more common on the roads around us.
And that could lead to an oil crisis, at least according to Bloomberg. With battery prices dropping seemingly every year, and new scientific advances leading to more advanced battery technology, electric vehicles (EVs) are primed to begin making the transition from high-end luxury purchase to something that just about everyone can afford, regardless of status.
“By 2040, long-range electric cars will cost less than $22,000 (in today’s dollars), according to the projections. Thirty-five percent of new cars worldwide will have a plug,” says Bloomberg.
Whether or not EVs actually cause the need for oil to drop enough to cause a crisis similar to the one we experience in 2014 is yet to be determined. It will largely depend on how low (or high) prices remain in the next few decades when electric vehicles insert their way into the market for more and more people. Low prices, combined with the need for developing countries to continuously depend on foreign oil could have a considerable impact on the prediction that Bloomberg made.
Technology, though, isn’t worth paying attention to simply due to electric cars for oil and gas. As new technologies are developed that wind up lessening our dependence on oil, new technologies also emerge that increase oil and gas outputs more efficiently. Fracking, for example, has caused the price of US natural gas, which has historically been similar to oil, to plummet as the means of gathering it become easier.